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ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage woman who operates a cat rescue operation has been accused of animal cruelty.
Police say they found dozens of dogs, cats and birds sick and wallowing in their own waste last week at the home of 54-year-old Deborah Ann Allen and the shelter she runs, Chateau Pampered Purr.
After her arrest Thursday on 33 counts, Allen was released on $750 bail. If convicted she faces up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine. The Anchorage Daily News reports she also could be ordered to reimburse animal control for feeding, housing and veterinary care for the animals.
Police say they have had multiple neglect complaints since 2004 against Allen, who crammed cats and dogs, turtles, birds, lizards and a rabbit in her cluttered Sand Lake home. It reeked of feces and urine and had swarms of flies.
Of the 23 cats, eight dogs and one bird found there last week, many were malnourished, dirty and with untreated injuries.
Authorities found 50 or more cats in similar straits at the Chateau Pampered Purr. The animals remain there because animal control had nowhere to put them, spokeswoman Brooke Taylor said.
It's not unusual for animal hoarders to present themselves as rescuers, Detective Jackie Conn said.
"Typically, I'd have to say most, if not all, of them have good intentions. But when you get so many animals in a small space, it's almost impossible to keep above the illnesses and that kind of thing. It's a difficult situation," she said.